Photograph by Tim Bentz
GPS: GPS: 47°26’N; 120°19’W
Wenatchee, a secluded town smack in the center of the state, on the Cascades’ dry sunny side, is best known to outsiders (if it’s known at all) as the apple-growing capital of the world. But to climbers, it’s the gateway to Washington’s best rock routes. And in a state with this many crags, that’s saying something.
The Peshastin Pinnacles State Park, 12 miles (19 kilometers) northwest of Wenatchee, is best spot to hone your climbing skills. The concentrated 34-acre (14-hectare) playground of sandstone slabs and spires (some 200 feet/61 meters tall) looks out over orchards and the Wenatchee River Valley. Routes are mostly 5.8 to 5.10, one to four pitches, and satisfying beyond their ratings—on some, you top out on the slender tip of a needle (www.parks.wa.gov).
The Windmill, a self-described “meeting place for bootleggers” and “counterfeiters,” opened in 1931. Today, the restaurant serves up juicy, perfectly executed cuts of beef, seafood, and, of course, homemade apple pie (www.thewindmillrestaurant.com).
The Peshastin Pinnacles State Park is day-use only, but there’s camping 15 minutes east in Wenatchee Confluence State Park, at the junction of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers ($21 a night for primitive sites; www.parks.wa.gov). In town, the 1903 Waterville Historic Hotel was recently renovated and reopened and has panoramic Cascades views (www.watervillehotel.com).